Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Who Says a Farm isn't Busy in March?

Signs of spring abound - from this honey bee on our truck bed, to it staying lighter much later, to the flat of leek seeds recently planted, spring is definitely in the air.   And boy are we busy...on all fronts.  

Our plans for this year are ambitious.  For starters we will be getting our pizza and bread oven up and running this spring.  To do this legally, a plan for a food prep. area in the barn was recently submitted to the PA Dept. of Agriculture.   This summer we will be hosting campers from local summer camps for adventure get aways and cooking classes.  We will also be offering "Family Farm Getaways" and "Friday Pizza Nights" beginning in May. Learn more about these and other events on our website:  http://www.OldSchoolFarm.com   Marketing efforts are now taking place to promote these various events.  Please feel free to spread the word to those people you think might be interested.

Sap was coming in a constant stream on warmer days
Other activities keeping us VERY busy include the gravity fed maple syrup production set-up.  We have about fifteen trees contributing about a gallon of sap each per day when conditions are right.
The fire pit needs to be continuously stoked and we just picked up three more fifty gallon food grade barrels, as our old olive barrel/rain barrel developed leaks at the outlet valve.

Dave is re-building the John Deere "running gear" chassis and will soon be adding an oak frame and hemlock flooring and rails.  Hay bales will function as seats for this "old school" wagon for farm tours and haunted hay rides (the boys are incredibly excited about these).
We also continue to search for the proper front end loader/bucket for the old Ferguson tractor we recently acquired.

Did our ram Uncas do his job?   Dave thinks so, as our ewes seem plumper than normal under all that fur and also appear to be consuming more grain even though it is warming.  We remain hopeful for lambs in late spring.  We are also searching for two or three milk goats so we can start making ice cream, cheese, and yogurt as part of our experiential farm model for visitors.

A big project that is staring us in the face right now is the installation of our 100' x 28' high tunnel (greenhouse) that we received a grant for from the USDA.  This will go down in our garden area and will require a lot of time and effort to install.  We hope to attract a few helpers with a wood fired pizza party !

We need to put up a deer fence around another small 25 tree orchard we will be planting in April. The bare root fruit trees arrive from Michigan with their roots covered in damp sphagnum moss.  Twenty five holes must be dug by hand in this rocky upper pasture (fewer spring frosts up here on higher ground) and the fence must be up prior to planting.

We also need to get some steering and brake work done to our '66 Ford so she can pass inspection and become road legal, as we have quite a few pick ups to be making this spring.

A flat of leeks are the first to get planted
There is a lot more going on including planting a lot of seed starts under our sodium grow light in the basement, but we'll sign off now and wish everyone a happy spring equinox a week early and hope you are enjoying the milder days and longer hours of daylight.

Be well ...

Your Friends at Old School Farm

Sodium grow light for seedlings in basement
The compost pile from the chicken coop is expanding
Junk run (to bottom of drive) - "free scrap metal" sign should save a run to the dump
Keep the "Farm Boss" saw sharp or the house gets cold fast (Kalamazoo wood stove in background)

The fire pit at night with maple sap steaming in kettle above (too dark to see)